On the cusp of a new squash season, it's always great to take a moment to reflect upon highlights from years gone by. Any look at the annals of Berkshire squash will reveal a special trend: the great tradition of siblings in the program.
Tad Koenigsbauer '20, for one, was excited to join big brother Peter '18 on Coach Turner's teams. The fact that he had a sibling at Berkshire definitely impacted his decision-making process at Eaglebrook, where Peter had also preceded him.
This family connection also part of the appeal for Tad's fellow Eaglebrook alum Burnham Johnston '21. Burnham joins sister Elise '19, who will be a senior leader for girls varsity in the upcoming season. (Their sister Anna '12 also logged some squash time for Mrs. Bullock's j.v. squad during her tenure under the mountain.) Since the boys and girls varsity groups train together some days, the Johnstons may actually find themselves on the same court in the months ahead. (Here's hoping for an amicable resolution in that case.)
George Kessler '21 joined his brother Henry '19 on the j.v. squad right out of the gate.The younger Kessler notes that things are both competitive and fun when they step on court together, despite the fact that the elder always seems to pull out the victory. (His big brother was too polite to confirm this, but neither did he deny his primacy on the family ladder.) For George, every bit of the squash is "amazing," from "the difficult but fun practices to the incredible team bonding." The fact that he gets to do it with a sibling is a bonus.
Madison '16 and Morgan '18 Heilshorn were stalwarts on Coach Kohlhepp's team and powered the Bears to the 2016 New England championship. Madison recalls: "I would like to think that I paved the way for Morgan, and I loved playing squash with Morgan on the team. It was really fun to watch her grow into a fantastic player. We still play together occasionally and I think it is something that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives."
As for her best memories, big sister Madison has a long list: "Cheering on teammates during late-night challenge matches; putting on the ARETE tattoos before big tournaments; and winning New Englands in my division and as a team. It was a feeling of great accomplishment ending my Berkshire squash career as a New England champion!"
Not everybody is gunning for a varsity spot or a New England championship. Twins Charlotte and Lily Weil '13 were mainstays on Coach Bullock's j.v. side for several great seasons. And this season, Grace '20 and Lila '21 Fitzgerald are just excited about the prospect of playing together.
Even if they don't reach the same heights as some other sets of sibling squashers, the Fitzgerald sisters will have the chance to share a great sport in a beautiful space with fabulous teammates. That sounds like a win to me.
Who knows: Maybe some of these siblings' surnames will end up above one of Berkshire's ten courts like the Koenigsbauers or Ally ('12) and Jack ('17) Grace, standouts on Coach Kohlhepp's and Turner's teams back in their day?